Michael Owen has stressed that Liverpool’s players and management “deserve a bit of patience” after all the club has achieved in recent years.
As it stands, the Reds are six points adrift of the Premier League’s top-four and face the reality of potentially missing out on next season’s Champions League, a competition they reached the final of last year, losing to Wednesday’s last-16 opponents Real Madrid.
The Reds also agonisingly missed out on the 2021/22 Premier League title by a single point to Manchester City, although they did claim the FA and EFL Cups.
He said: “When you talk to Liverpool fans, you say is it because [Sadio] Mane left? Is it because all of the injuries? Then you’ve got confidence. Then people say it’s the owners and no investment, and the midfield’s ageing, and there’s so many different reasons. But this happens in football.
“Last season, only eight months ago, they were two games off being the most decorated team in history. Two games away. Not much has changed since then.
“Jurgen Klopp, the players, the board, the fans, everything has been successful from years and years and years. This group of people are proven that they can win things. So to say, ‘let’s just tear everything up’ is totally wrong.
“He [Klopp] knows they’re going to need to reinvest in the midfield area, he would have done that anyway and that’ll happen in the summer, but I think they deserve a bit of patience after what they’ve done over the last few years.”
Meanwhile, Rio Ferdinand came to the defence of Virgil van Dijk after the Netherlands international received criticism for his part in Bournemouth’s goal on Saturday.
Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) against Real Madrid
Image credit: Getty Images
“There are phases in your career where things don’t go to plan, but I mean, you look at a great centre-halves of years gone by, for instance, John Terry, Jaap Stam, [Nemanja] Vidic, [Vincent] Kompany, Sol Campbell,” he said.
“I don’t remember those having a season off or big periods in the seasons where you have maybe like eight or nine games where it isn’t going well.
“I would give grace to Virgil van Dijk, sometimes you are as good as the team around you as well. You need your team to perform to be able to perform with your best, and he hasn’t had the team performing in the way that would suit his style of play at the moment.”
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